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MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021): price, release date and everything we know

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The Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) was revealed to the public during the Apple Unleashed event on October 18, powered by either the newly released 10-core M1 Pro or M1 Max chips. With a fresh redesign, mini-LED display, and plenty of built-in ports, the new MacBook Pro range feels like it could be a serious contender as one of the best laptops ever made.

That beefier Apple silicon inside both the 16-inch and MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) features eight performance cores and two efficiency cores, alongside variations to the built-in GPU to optimize the device to your exact requirements.

In fact, Apple says both the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips are twice as fast as the Intel Core i9 in the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2019). The M1 Pro maxes out at 32GB RAM, while the M1 Max maxes out at 64GB. 

If you’d like to know more about how the new 16-inch MacBook Pro stacks up against its predecessor, check out our MacBook Pro 16-inch (2019) vs MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) comparison.

Apple also says that efficiency of the new MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) can extend the battery life as long as 21 hours, which is well beyond what even the longest-lasting Intel or AMD laptop processors are capable of. That

Although the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) launch date isn’t until Tuesday October 26, Apple has already shared quite a bit of information about its new flagship, including specifications and price details, so read on to find out everything we know so far.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The successor to the original MacBook Pro 16-inch
  • When is it out? You can preorder now, with deliveries starting on October 26.
  • What will it cost? The new MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) will start at $2,499 (£2,399, AU$3,749) for the M1 Pro model, while the M1 Max model will start at $3,499 (£3,299, AU$5,249).

MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) release date and price

The new Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) is available for preorder now, with deliveries expected to begin on October 26. 

The starting price for the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) M1 Pro model is $2,499 (£2,399, AU$3,749), with the M1 Max model starting at $3,499 (£3,299, AU$5,249).

That’s a bit of a price hike from the previous model. The MacBook Pro 16-inch (2019) started at $2,399 (£2,399, AU$3,799) for a 6-core Intel Core i7 processor, AMD Radeon Pro 5300M 4GB GPU, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.

However, during the launch event, Apple was keen to stress how much of a performance boost the new MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) has received over the last model, so Apple will be banking on the better performance and improved screen to justify this higher price.

An image of the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) from the Apple Unleashed event

(Image credit: Apple)

MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) design

As far as the design of the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021), the new look is more revolutionary than first thought. While it keeps the iconic MacBook look, and comes in two colors, it now also boast a huge increase in ports.

The MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) will feature three Thunderbolt 4 ports, one HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, and a MagSafe 3 port, along with a Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, Force Touch trackpad, and a 140W USB-C power adapter (you can still charge via USB-C if you’d prefer). There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack, too.

Some people had been hoping for a choice of bright colors to match the new iMac (24-inch, 2021) and iPhone 13, but Apple stuck with the two dark colors. Perhaps we’ll see a more colorful MacBook Air (2022) instead?

An image of the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) keyboard from the Apple Unleashed event

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has also killed of the Touch Bar that ran above the MacBook Pro’s keyboard. This mini display would show context sensitive buttons and shortcuts depending on what tools or apps you were using. 

While some people found the feature useful, others saw it as merely a gimmick that only increased the price (and size) of the MacBook Pro laptops it appeared in.

Dropping the Touch Bar hasn’t seemed to cut the price of the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021), but it’s allowed it to hit dimensions of 0.66 x 14.01 x 9.77 inches (1.68 x 35.57 x 24.81cm), which is roughly the same as the 0.64 x 14.09 x 9.68 inches (1.62 x: 35.79 x 24.59cm) dimensions of the previous model, despite the more powerful components and slightly larger screen size.

An image of the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) notch and webcam from the Apple Unleashed event

(Image credit: Apple)

We’re also getting a new 1080p webcam to drag laptop cameras into the modern age, which is a huge step up from the lackluster 720p camera that features on older MacBook devices. This is especially useful as popular conferencing applications like Microsoft Teams and Zoom support 1080p quality at 30 fps (frames per second).

We can’t talk design without discussing the dreaded MacBook Pro notch that appears to have replaced the Touch Bar as a feature being mocked outside of the Apple community. It’s not apparent yet what purpose it serves, but it wouldn’t be an Apple release without the inclusion of at least one controversial update.

MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) display

The display of the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) Is another stunner from Apple, with a Liquid Retina XDR display featuring mini-LED technology that delivers up to 1,000 nits of sustained, full-screen brightness. Better still, the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) is capable of up to 1,600 nits of peak brightness and a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio.

The display offers P3 wide color gamut coverage and supports one billion colors for the smoother gradients. Best of all, the display also comes with the expected 120Hz refresh rate, making it the fastest MacBook Pro 16-inch display yet.

Because the bezels around the screen have been slimmed down for a more modern look, it’s allowed Apple to increase the screen size to 16.2-inches from the 16-inches of the previous model. It also offers 7.7 million pixels thanks to its 3,546 x 2,234 – which Apple says is the most ever in a MacBook.

An image of the cooling system within the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) from the Apple Unleashed event

(Image credit: Apple)

MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) specs

Boy howdy, where to start. Well, we guess we should start with the M1 Pro chip and the M1 Max chip.

The M1 Pro chip offers a huge boost over the first generation Apple silicon, the Apple M1 chip. Apple promises that the M1 Pro and M1 Max are twice as powerful as the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2019) powered by an Intel Core i9 processor, and while we still need to see it for ourselves before accepting that claim, its definitely in the realm of possibility given that the Intel Core i9 is an eight-core chip with no efficiency cores at all.

Here are some of the stats Apple has provided for its expected performance gains of the MacBook Pro 16-inch (2019):

  • Up to 3.7x faster project builds using Xcode.
  • Up to 3x more Amp Designer plug-ins in Logic Pro.
  • Up to 2.8x faster computational fluid dynamics performance in NASA TetrUSS.
  • Up to 9.2x faster 4K render in Final Cut Pro with M1 Pro, and up to 13.4x faster with M1 Max.
  • Up to 5.6x faster combined vector and raster GPU performance in Affinity Photo with M1 Pro, and up to 8.5x faster with M1 Max.
  • Up to 3.6x faster effect render in Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Studio with M1 Pro, and up to 5x faster with M1 Max.
  • Up to 8.7x faster object tracking performance in Final Cut Pro with M1 Pro, and up to 11.5x faster with M1 Max.
  • Up to 7.2x faster scene edit detection in 1080p ProRes 422 video in Adobe Premiere Pro.
  • Up to 2.6x faster performance when selecting subjects in images in Adobe Photoshop.
  • Up to 3x faster computational fluid dynamics performance in NASA TetrUSS.
  • Up to 2.1x faster project builds in Xcode.
  • Up to 2.1x faster publish performance in Vectorworks.
  • Up to 2.9x faster combined vector and raster GPU performance in Affinity Photo with M1 Pro, and up to 4.5x faster with M1 Max.
  • Up to 2.5x faster render in Maxon Cinema 4D with Redshift with M1 Pro, and up to 4x faster with M1 Max.
  • Up to 1.7x faster 8K render in Final Cut Pro with M1 Pro, and up to 2.9x faster with M1 Max.
  • Up to 4.4x faster scene edit detection in 1080p ProRes 422 video in Adobe Premiere Pro.
  • Up to 3.6x faster object tracking performance in Final Cut Pro with M1 Pro, and up to 4.9x faster with M1 Max.
  • Up to 1.5x faster performance with M1 Pro and up to 2x faster with M1 Max when selecting subjects in images in Adobe Photoshop.

According to our Jackie Thomas, the 16-core M1 Pro GPU features a clock speed of about 1.26GHz, based on her calculations, though we don’t know about the 32-core GPU in the M1 Max, since the M1 Pro is a 30W GPU according to Apple but the M1 Max is a 100W GPU, so with more power comes a higher clock speed, but not in a linear fashion, so it’s hard to predict what the ultimate speed of Apple’s most powerful laptop GPU will be.

MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) battery life

Another major step forward for Apple with its new MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) is a significant boost in battery life, even above the earlier M1 MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020) and the MacBook Air (2020), according to Apple.

The company says that their new MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) will achieve up to 21 hours of video playback, which is 10 hours longer than the last-gen MacBook Pro 16-inch (2019). Per Apple’s online listing, the company expects the laptop to last up to 14 hours when wirelessly browsing the web, which we interpret as casual to moderate use.

In addition to video playback, Apple says that developers will be able to compile four times as much code when working in Xcode and photographers will be able to get up to twice the battery life when using Adobe Lightroom Classic on the go.

  • Shop the latest MacBook Pro deals and sales

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